CHHS looking forward to match up with Bulldogs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

When the lights at the Pike County High School football stadium burn Aug. 20, the 70 young men in the visitors' locker room will have one thing on their minds - beating the Bulldogs.

The Charles Henderson High School football team has a singular goal in the early stages of summer practice. They want the first and most important game to be a positive beginning to what they hope will be a great year.

"As far as the Pike County game, we always look forward to beating our rivals," said coach Hugh Fountain. "Hopefully we'll be ready when the time comes."

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The team began practicing Monday with a determination to do better than last year's second-round playoff exit at the hands of Homewood.

To do that, they will need to continue the type of play they have exhibited over the past half decade, if not exceed it.

The Trojans have won at least eight games in the past five years.

That's a tall order, but not impossible for a team that returns a solid core of players from last year's team.

"We've all worked hard this summer on the field and now we're ready for it to pay off," said senior offensive lineman Cody Ash. "Your senior season is what everybody judges you by. We've worked hard for four years and now we're ready to show everybody what hard work can do."

There are 20 seniors poised to lead the Trojan squad this season.

The upperclassmen look at their status as veteran players as a responsibility to lead a team poised to make itself into an area powerhouse.

"We've got a big role to play," said linebacker Marquino Siler. "You've got to be a leader on and off the field. We let these guys know that to play, they have to practice just like it's a game. If they go hard every play and every drill, then the game will be no problem."

Siler, the returning defensive captain from last year, will anchor a unit that has allowed a total of 84 points to opposing teams the past two seasons.

On the other side of the ball, the team will be led by quarterback Jared Loftin.

Loftin started all 12 games for the Trojans last year, rushing for over 600 yards and passing for over 1,000.

"Starting a sophomore at quarterback gives you some worries, but you know you've at least got him for two more years," said Fountain. "He was pretty good last year and we hope he'll be even better this year."

Loftin may be hooking up with senior wide receiver Quavian Lewis quite a bit this season. After splitting time between defensive end and receiver last season, Lewis will be used primarily as an offensive weapon this year.

Lewis echoed the sentiments of many of his teammates, whose primary focus the next few weeks will be the first game of the year.

"That's all that's on my mind, is Pike County," said Lewis. "We want to do that and we're looking to win a state championship."

One area of the Trojan attack that could look dramatically different is the play of the special teams.

The Trojans lost all-state kicker/punter Josh Post to graduation and are looking to fill the void left by his absence.

"There's a position battle at punter right now, "said Fountain. "Michael Partridge is going to handle the kickoff and field goal duties."

Other than the loss of Post, this is a team the coaches and players feel could be as good or better than last year's.

"I hope we can be able to continue to perform at a high level," said Fountain. "If we can keep up the level of intensity, we're going to get better and be as good a football team as we can be."